Signet CEO responds to Human Rights Watch criticisms

The retail boss calls criticism ‘incorrect’ and says the report is aimed more to criticise than provide constructive recommendations

The CEO of Signet Jewellers has responded to criticisms levied against the company and the jewellery industry on the whole in an open letter.

Virginia Drosos’s response came after a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report rated the company’s policies towards responsible sourcing as ‘moderate’.

In the letter Drosos labels criticisms from the HRW towards the RJC as “incorrect” and that the report “contains language chosen more to criticise our industry rather than provide constructive recommendations”.

Read the full letter from the Signet CEO below:

[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Jewelry, for me, like many customers, is all about a meaningful moment, about a relationship, about self-expression. At Signet Jewelers, we have the privilege of selling a product that inherently carries a strong emotional attachment and can be the conduit to a customer’s most memorable moments.  It is also one of the key reasons that the responsible sourcing of the gold, diamonds and other precious metals and stones must be a priority for everyone along the global jewelry supply chain.

Signet believes that visibly leading in the area of responsible sourcing is essential for our success, and our industry’s growth. Customers want transparency. They respect integrity. They care about the story behind what they purchase.  We must respect that, and work together to give it to them.

As part of our efforts to take the lead in ensuring the integrity of the global jewellery supply chain, Signet created the award-winning Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocols. Mandatory for all Signet suppliers, these Protocols incorporate best-in-class principles that ensure Signet is leading the continuous improvement in the integrity of the jewelry global supply chain with an emphasis on transparency and the protection of human rights.

Certified Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) membership is also a requirement for all Signet jewellery suppliers. RJC membership reinforces Signet’s industry leadership position on responsible practices and requirements in the areas of human rights, health and safety, and labour practices throughout the global Signet supply chain.

Recently, Human Rights Watch (HRW), a non-profit organization, released a report on ‘The Hidden Cost of Jewelry.’ In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, Signet and other members of the jewelry industry engaged openly and extensively with HRW. Unfortunately, the report contains language chosen more to criticize our industry rather than provide constructive recommendations. In particular, we believe HRW’s assessment of the RJC standards is incorrect.

We would welcome HRW to engage more constructively with the RJC and other participants in the jewelry industry. Unwavering product integrity is fundamental for Signet – and we believe it should be for the entire industry. Going forward, Signet urges everyone with a stake in our industry to join us in this diligent pursuit of excellence and transparency.[/box]

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